Are You Ready for Some Football (Content Marketing Campaigns)?

Yup, it’s that time of year again – football season. Players have been preparing for months, and so have the brands that support the National Football League. Content marketing campaigns ranging from social media to mobile to video have been more prominent than Johnny Manziel’s, er, memorable exhibition game with the Cleveland Browns last month. Get pumped up for NFL Kickoff tonight with these three campaigns.

The NFL Goes Mobile

Always looking for a way to attract more fans, the NFL has come up with a new way to get the entire family excited about football. The organization paired with JumpStart, which creates educational games, to build mobile app games for children. The first two games will be available for the season kickoff and are designed to be played while cheering on your favorite team.

The NFL has plans to release more games and will begin integrating math to make them more educational. Eventually, the games will have an even split between football and educational content that varies by grade, according to David Lord, JumpStart CEO. The NFL and JumpStart also currently have a mobile app aimed at younger children called NFL My Preschool ABCs Kickoff. Children can learn the alphabet playing games with their favorite NFL team.

This focus on mobile app games for children is a great marketing tactic. Parents will enjoy the educational aspect, and kids will enjoy the fun properties. Of course, both age groups will be more likely to tune in to NFL games, which is the organization’s goal.

Under Armour Turns to Video

As the sponsor of the NFL scouting combine, the athletic brand has an amazing opportunity to align itself with the sport. For the 2014 season, Under Armour partnered with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton to produce a series of videos called “Huddle Up.” Since the campaign launched on August 5, the five videos have nearly 1.05 million views on YouTube combined. Under Armour also has the videos on its website.

The series follows Newton through the off-season as he returns to Auburn University to earn his college degree, has ankle surgery, coaches teens on his 7 on 7 team, and prepares himself for the 2014 season. There are also interviews with those close to Newton, including his parents. The entire series does an excellent job of turning a Newton into a hero you want to root for. He doesn’t shy away from the controversy in his past. He confronts it, and shows how he’s improved by focusing on football.

Throughout the video, you see Newton and others wearing Under Armour gear, but, more importantly, you get a sense of the sacrifice athletes like Newton go through for their sport. I think the most successful aspect of the movies, from a content marketing standpoint, is the opening line of each video: A Story of Will. That’s the message Under Armour want to share: it’s a brand that helps athletes find the will to keep going when they think they can’t. All-in-all, this is a brilliant content marketing campaign.

DirecTV Looks for Laughs on Social Media

Revered quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning have paired with DirecTV in the past to support new offerings, so it’s quite exciting to see them return for the 2014 season. This year, the brothers are the new hype boys for DirectTV’s Fantasy Zone, a channel devoted entirely to fantasy football.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMor6dL0LfI

If you’ve seen any of the Manning’s past videos, you’ll know what to expect. The video is a wacky three-minutes of Peyton and Eli’s “Fantasy Football Fantasy.” Naturally, DirecTV shared it across all of its social channels, but it’s also sharing other posts related to the start of football season and the Manning brothers. And, of course, it created a custom hashtag for the campaign, #FFF.

All three of these campaigns are excellent examples of how to generate buzz before a major event. Use them as inspiration for your next content marketing campaign, and happy football season!